If you could bottle summer in a pasta sauce, this would be it. All the “best hits” from the vegetable garden come together under one proverbial roof: corn, summer squash, tomatoes and basil. In fact, because it relies completely on the quality of the ingredients, it’s a one-season dish. Try making it in November and it will surely disappoint.

This pasta is especially appealing for summer cooking since it fills the bill for a “15 Minute Fix”: a meal that can be pulled together start to finish in a quarter of an hour. No need to be behind the stove for long on a steamy day. Once the pasta water boils, the clock starts ticking.

This dish has been in my repetoire for years, evolving from an uncooked tomato/basil/garlic sauce that was a summertime staple. When I was pregnant, though, I couldn’t tolerate the raw garlic, so I started sautéing it before adding the tomatoes. Then corn came into the mix, followed by zucchini. It’s that sort of sauce: one that bears tinkering with depending on what you have in your fridge. Sometimes I toss in fresh mint along with the basil, use crumbled feta in lieu of Parmesan, finish with lemon zest, top with grilled shrimp, or scatter on a small handful of toasted pinenuts.

As far as nutrition goes, I make this like I do most pastas, with a high ratio of vegetables to noodles. I figure two to three ounces of pasta per serving, with all of the nourishing “goodies” making up the balance of the dish. Multi-grain or whole grain pasta will work here, or for the “no-gluten” crowd, whatever wheat-free favorites that suit you. Regardless of the variety, be sure to cook the pasta al dente, both for texture and because less cooking time lowers the glycemic index. That means it digests more slowly and will keep your crowd satisfied longer. And although I prefer a long noodle for this, feel free to substitute penne or any small sturdy shape. Those tend to go over well with the little ones.

I made “Summer in a Bowl” a few nights ago for the kids and my friend Alyssa (who took the pretty pictures you see here). We had it with salad greens pulled from my garden and a couple of glasses of bubbly while a strawberry rhubarb pie cooled on the counter. Even though we were home, it felt like vacation. It felt like summer. Even my kids thought so.

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  1. 07.14.2011 at 11:33 PM #

    Thank you..really informative!!

  2. Pat Pat
    07.18.2011 at 8:29 AM #

    We are having this one tonight! As always, Katie – you inspire. I love the nutrition advice of having more veggies, etc and less pasta.

    • katiemorford
      07.18.2011 at 9:06 AM #

      Thanks for chiming in Patti. I love the feedback. Katie

  3. Pam
    07.18.2011 at 6:01 PM #

    We just had this for dinner (summer squash instead of zucchini b/c that’s what was in the refrigerator). Delicious!

  4. Beverly
    07.18.2011 at 8:14 PM #

    I can’t wait to make this! Thanks for another inspiring recipe, Katie!

    • katiemorford
      07.18.2011 at 9:14 PM #

      Thanks for the feedback Beverly.

  5. Meg
    07.19.2011 at 8:13 AM #

    I made this the other night with one of your girls dining with us. A little pressure to make it as good as yours! Thanks to your well-written recipe, the pasta was divine! Simple to make, fresh and flavorful to eat. A new staple for our kitchen, thank you!

    • katiemorford
      07.20.2011 at 6:55 AM #

      Meg, It’s always nice to hear a recipe works as intended. Thanks for letting me know.

  6. Kristen
    07.23.2014 at 8:05 PM #

    This was easy and delicious…fresh corn is key. I doubled the lemon, but otherwise…perfection!

    • katiemorford
      07.24.2014 at 7:13 AM #

      So glad you liked it. It’s a great one to tinker with…more lemon, cilantro instead of basil, chiles, etc. etc. I’ve got another corn salad coming soon!

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